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Cleaning the Plate for 6/23/10 - Spoilers

Written by Brian Burchette on Monday, June 28 2010 and posted in Reviews
jla-generationlost4-a.jpgThis week I review all DC titles, with very mixed results. {nomultithumb}

Justice League: Generation Lost #4jla-generationlost4.jpg
There's a reason why this incarnation of The Justice League is still beloved nearly 30 years after its inception, and Judd Winick, with the help of the great Keith Giffen, is reminding us every other week. As the team continues its search for Maxwell Lord, they encounter a team of Rocket Reds that are fighting one of their own. Once he recognizes the Justice League International, he is convinced that he has found his destiny to be a member of a team full of heroes that try to convince them they are no longer a team. In the meantime those powers of Max's are not working right as everyone he tries to "push" ends up not only dead but also wearing a White Lantern insignia. In the end of this issue it's Booster that realizes they are still being manipulated by Max as the team has been put together once again... by Mr. Lord himself. What I really like about this title is that Judd doesn't push the humor that was so prevalent with this team. It seems to flow naturally, but he keeps in mind that these characters have obviously grown and matured since the days of the JLI. This goes double for Booster who is looking much less of a buffoon and more of a leader. High marks for that little bit alone. Of the two bi-weekly books DC is putting out, this one is so far the more enjoyable of the two. If it continues to be this good, I might just end up getting it in trade form as well. My Score: A-

Superman #700superman700.jpg
Some of DC's biggest hitters step up to celebrate the Man of Steel's anniversary issue. How unfortunate that such a high number with such great writers and artists is going to get such a low grade from me. I will say one positive thing, though; they didn't go the route of some major upheaval in Superman's life. There was no death, or marriage and nobody had a baby. Heck there was barely any villains in it. Nope, this was a mix of past stories and brooding moments after the loss of New Krypton. If I'm honest with myself here, there was nothing that was really bad about this book, but with a double sized issue where NOTHING happens, it wasn't very good either. The Clark and Lois story was brief, slightly depressing and rather boring. It could have been done in a regular issue with perhaps two pages. The story with a young Dick Grayson as Robin wasn't too bad but since Detective Comics basically has the same kind of story it made both of them feel a bit clichéd and kind of out dated. The final story was a Prologue to the next Superman story and one that already seems dull. Slap heard around the world? It felt more like a thud to me. The big S deserved a lot better than what he got for such a big anniversary issue. My Score: D+

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3returnofbrucewayne3.jpg
Hated the first issue, really liked the second issue, and back to disliking on the third one. Just like my last review, I found all of this kind of boring. There are some nice moments though where Grant is obviously weaving these little threads into a cool little tapestry, and I have to say that unlike some of his other Batman work, I've been able to follow this story without scratching my head. Thumbs up for that! But by the time I was halfway through this issue I realized that I didn't care that he was a pirate or what he's doing to keep himself sane. I have to admit though that the final pages with the tease of Jonah Hex do have me all a twitter. Perhaps this series will be like the Star Trek movie franchise... even numbers good, odd numbers mind numbingly boring. My Score: C-

Green Arrow #1greenarrow1.jpg
This is a book I've been anxiously awaiting. Since I'm one of the few that liked the direction they've taken Ollie, I thought this might be a bit of a return to the days of The Longbow Hunter. After reading the first issue I think it might just happen. A nice set up here with some new supporting cast members as well as an antagonist who has taken over Queen Industries that has me intrigued. I like the forest in the middle of the city. I like the idea that Green Arrow has once again become the Robin Hood figure as his city continues to reel from the devastation of Prometheus' attack. As much as I hate to admit this, I think separating Ollie and Dinah was probably the best thing for both of them. This character (one of my personal favorites since I was a wee tot) has been poorly used for some time now, and this first issue is by no means a mega "wow" book; it does, however, show huge promise for fans of the darker Green Arrow stories that made Ollie one of the most fascinating people in the DC Universe. Also have to give a round of applause to Diogenes Neves for some pretty fantastic artwork. I'm cautiously excited about this series. My Score: B-

Power Girl #13powergirl13.jpg
Let's face it folks, for those of us who fell in love with the original team on this book, having them replaced after only one year makes it a bit hard to go in without any bias. Judd Winick does try his best to keep Karen's story moving forward with a little of the humor that was in the first twelve issues, but it's pretty obvious that the tone of this book has changed now. Is that a bad thing? No... well not necessarily. The real problem I had with Judd's first issue is that it's mostly a rehash of all the Maxwell Lord stuff that is going on in the other books. I guess if you are just a casual DC reader and have no idea about Brightest Day or the return of Max, it's a good jumping on point. For me it felt like twenty some pages of story that I have already read. Nice little twist at the end, and thanks Judd for keeping the cat around. Still, I already miss the whimsy feel that this back had. Even during the most fierce battle scenes the tongues were planted firmly in cheek. I hope we don't lose some of that or this book has probably lost a reader. My Score: C+

Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal #4riseofarsenal4.jpg
Can anyone explain to me why DC has to take their side kick characters and turn them into unrecognizable shells of what they once were? This has to be one of the worst examples of character assassinations that I've seen since Devin Grayson's Nightwing run. I had no problem with Roy falling of the wagon. He lost his only child; it makes perfect sense to me. The concept of losing a child is horrifying and I have no doubt can change a person - especially a man like Roy who lives off his emotions and not his intelligence. But to turn him into a murderer is going way over the line for me. Not only that but he does it while Ollie is in prison waiting for his own trial over the murder of Prometheus? That brings up the whole timeline question. Since they breezed through the trial and are now in the future, what exactly has happened to Roy in all those months between? Anybody hunting him or has the world just figured that all heroes who use bows are now killing machines and there's not much they can do about it. In fact, looking back on it, there's no way Ollie's trial would have logically taken place so quickly. Between motions, requests for adjournments, it had to be at least six to eight months before the trial even happened. Okay, maybe I'm off on a tangent here but this poorly done story has brought up more questions than answers and shows just how out of touch DC is right now with their own characters and timelines. My Score: D-

Detective Comics #866detectivecomics866.jpg
This turned out to be another yawner for me, but when I sat down to figure out why, I didn't have any particular reason I could put my finger on. Batman (Dick Grayson) is on the trail of a medallion of St. Dumas that figured into an early adventure that he and Bruce had with The Joker. An innocent man went to prison for the crime and now that he's been released; Dick feels it's the best time to prove his innocence. Several questions sprang to mind after I finished reading this one, the biggest one being, why Bruce didn't do this years ago. I would think if they knew that Joker had had the medallion to begin with they would have set out to prove the poor chump was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Like I stated before, I'll be really glad when Bruce gets back and puts on the cowl. The longer Dick is Batman the less I'm enjoying these books. We all know my love for Dick, but he belongs as Nightwing, not The Dark Knight. My Score: C


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